For the past few months I have been among the writers beating the drums for Ike Davis to be banished from the Mets. I even said he should be non-tendered, but that was before a surprisingly strong trade market appeared. However, now I am reconsidering my stance, and think Davis might deserve one more chance.
I will start off by saying that if the Mets get a trade offer for Davis that makes the team better, they should jump at it. But perhaps they should not get rid of him just for the sake of getting rid of him.
One of the reasons is that if the alternative at first base is Ike Davis or a platoon of Lucas Duda and Josh Satin, as it appears to be, I would take Davis in a second. I think most Mets fans would agree with that.
While Davis has obviously struggled the past couple of seasons, at least he has shown that he is capable of being a major leaguer. Neither Duda nor Satin has achieved that level of performance.
Davis hit 32 home runs in 2012, a season that I still consider a failure because of the extremely slow start he had and the .227 average with which he finished. But the Mets need power and Davis could provide that. Are there any other first basemen who fit into the Mets salary restrictions who possess that kind of power?
We also have to remember that Ike Davis will turn 27 during Spring Training. That is the prime for a baseball player, an age where he is still learning and getting better. It would be difficult to give up on a player who showed so much promise who is still so young.
There is no denying that Davis looked lost last season. There was far too much movement in the batters box, far too many lunging swings at unhittable pitches. But perhaps that can be fixed, and perhaps he should be given one more chance to do it with the Mets.
If the Mets do decide to go this route, they must keep him on a very short leash. If he is once again hitting .150 at the end of April, it would be time to admit defeat and let him go.
The Mets would also have to have a contingency plan in place. Duda and/or Satin should not be that plan. They need a major league-ready first baseman, not a Quadruple-A player. Garrett Jones could be that player.
Jones was non-tendered by the Pirates on Monday. He has split his time in the majors as a first baseman and an outfielder. He has some power; he has hit 20 or more home runs in three of his five seasons, topping out at 27 in 2012. The 32-year-old Jones was a bit of a disappointment this past season, hitting just 15 homers and batting .233. But he could be a cost-effective alternative at first or in the outfield.
Jones made $4.5 million in 2013, and likely would have gotten around $6 million in arbitration, which is why the Pirates cut him. He’ll probably get around $3 million as a free agent, certainly within the Mets salary structure.
So I think I am on the give-Ike-Davis-another-chance bandwagon. Because you just know he will have a breakout season with another team.